Fred Loimer of Weingut Loimer, in Austria, has a goal – to produce wine that shows its true and natural flavour. To achieve this, he has turned to biodynamics, a stringent method of organic farming that prohibits the use of chemical and synthetic additives.
The conversion to biodynamics took three years and the vineyards in Austria’s Niederösterreich and Kamptal wine regions are now all certified by respekt-BIODYN. The organisation is composed of biodynamic producers in Austria, Germany, Italy and Hungary.
The improvement in quality is apparent; in Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide, Robert Parker Jnr writes, “Fred Loimer’s wines have undergone a gradual stylistic transformation over the past decade toward sharper relief and greater intricacy of flavour with a corresponding concentration of interest in riesling from diverse sites.”
Biodynamics follows the lunar calendar, with viticultural activities planned around the various phases of the moon. One of the most important natural additives is a horn manure called 500, which is sprayed on the soil during the spring, to encourage root growth. Horn silica 501 is used for the leaves. Other naturopath mixtures include nettle tea, which contains potassium, magnesium and iron that help stimulate vine sap, encourage chlorophyll formation and discourage pests. Peppermint tea is used to increase vine energy.
Biodynamics is still a controversial subject. Economically, it is more expensive than conventional viticulture, being more labour intensive, and winegrowers have fewer resources to counter pests, diseases and adverse weather conditions. Loimer is dedicated to biodynamics despite heartbreaking experiences: in 2016 he lost 80 per cent of his crop to frost.
Loimer Extra Brut
Austrian sekt (sparkling wine) is an enormously popular style and every October 22 marks National Sekt Day.The vineyards for this sekt are situated in Niederösterreich, Austria’s largest wine-growing region.
Grapes for the wine are hand harvested and fermented in stainless-steel tanks. The wines are made using the traditional method for sparkling wine, undergoing a second fermentation in the bottle and aged for 10 months on lees.
A blend of 42 per cent grüner veltliner, 33 per cent zweigelt and 25 per cent pinot noir. Aromas of melon, honey and toasty notes. Fresh, vibrant fruit on the palate balanced with crisp acidity and a creamy finish. A refreshing, easy-going, approachable style. Offers terrific value for money. HK$186
Loimer Langenlois Grüner Veltliner
Grüner veltliner is Austria’s most famous white variety and accounts for about 30 per cent of the country’s production. The vineyards for this wine are in the Kamptal region, named after the river Kamp.
Fresh apple, peach, white pepper notes. Lighter bodied, balanced, easy-going and very refreshing. This is an excellent example of a grüner. HK$156
Loimer Riesling Loiserberg 2015 Kamptal DAC Reserve
Riesling is the archetypal variety that manages to capture the essence of the site where it is grown. The wine’s style sits between a German and an Alsace riesling – it’s fuller bodied compared with the former, and drier than the latter.
Perfumed apple floral, peach notes. Rounder, quite rich, supported by crisp acidity and finishing very long and complex. HK$248
Wines available from Bachmair Wines